Did you know that the Los Angeles Department of Public Health classifies traditional nail polish as toxic waste? Well, guess what, they do, and you have been putting it all over your flanges for years. Yuck. So, ladies (and gentlemen, if you're into this sort of thing), the days of putting toxic paint all over your pretty fingernails is over. No more worrying about the long-term effects of mysterious chemicals like phthalates, toluene, and formaldehyde; there's a new nail polish out there that's super-ecofriendly, and it's made right here in Phoenix. Ginny Cardena, CEO and founder of Scotch Naturals Nail Polish, has developed a "3 Free" nail polish that uses nontoxic acrylic polymer emulsions with pigments that are commonly found in watercolor paints, instead of the chemical sludge that most companies use. The Phoenix-based line is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, biodegradable, and comes in almost three dozen colors. They even make a special kid-friendly line called HopScotch. Perfect for tiny fingers that love bright colors without any of the bad stuff that you'll find in the traditional lacquers.

Any given day (except Sunday; they're open from noon to 4 Monday through Saturday), ASU Surplus is worth a visit — if you're looking for a super-cool, old-school vintage desk or perhaps a sturdy desk chair. Last time we visited, we found some giant green chalkboards. Nice. The price is right — ASU orders new supplies and dumps the old stuff here. But even better are ASU Surplus auctions, held the second Thursday of the month. That's where you can find the really crazy items, like a gorgeous apothecary cabinet a friend scored. (We're still jealous, years later.) In case you didn't get the memo, vintage science equipment is all the rage — even if you don't have any real experiments to conduct. Happy hunting.

Boy, you wish your high school shop class was as cool as Local Motors in Chandler. It's a space where auto enthusiasts, fabricators, engineers, and designers come to create vehicles conducive to the local environment. The Rally Fighter is the flagship vehicle of Local Motors, designed by Song Ho Kim, who won Local Motors' open competition. It's built for the American Southwest, and as intense as it looks, it's perfectly okay to take it out on Interstate 10. While Local Motors has an international online community of engineers and designers called The Forge, the coolest thing about this space is that you can (for the right price) build a Rally Fighter for yourself. From scratch. In six days. Even if you don't know how an engine works or why it's a called a monkey wrench, Local Motors will pair you up with a member of their team and you can drive this bad-ass car home in about a week. Learn more about it www.phoenixnewtimes.com/bestof2012.

Plasmids are the key to genetic engineering. You can't just take a string of genetic code, throw it into a pot of DNA, give it a shake and expect a cure for cancer to fall out. Plasmids are tiny loops of genetic material that scientists use to courier desired genes into the heart of a cell, its DNA. Pretty much all genetic engineering depends on plasmids, and keeping track of them can be a hassle. In the past, scientists who wanted to use plasmids had to more or less build them from scratch, which can be a slow and time-consuming process.

Best Of Phoenix®

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